From Subscription To Free Account In SWTOR

Transition To A Preferred Account With Ease

I subscribe and unsubscribe from SWTOR randomly.  Initially, I read about all the free to play hype, about how bad it was, and thought i’d probably never return.  In February of 2013, I found out just how wrong the free to play hype was.  I returned to the game full time, wishing I had started sooner.  I only had to subscribe for one month in 2013 to get the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion discount, and didn’t subscribe again until the next expansion.  The system hasn’t changed as of the time of (re)writing this guide (January 2016). This guide assumes you have a preferred account.  If you bought the game before, or have subscribed at some point, you will have a preferred account.  This guide is for players who are returning to SWTOR, or players who are simply dropping their subscription to play for free.  Level 50 or 65, the guide works for both.

Before Dropping Your Subscription

I did not have the opportunity to prepare myself before leaving the game.  If you do, you have an enormous opportunity. This section is for players that are just ending their subscription.  The following are suggestions you should follow before losing subscriber status.  Your main advantage is access to all your credits. If you are a returning player, skip to the Return To Preferred section below.

Conquest Credit Certificates

Once you decide to drop your subscription, start saving your conquest reward credit certificates.  You can hold these in your cargo bay like a little savings account.  You can vendor them as you need credits or space.  You can continue to save them after you hit free status as well to avoid escrow.

The GTN Is Your Friend

Hit up the Galactic Trade Network (GTN), and buy Account unlocks.  If you have at least a week’s notice, watch the prices.  You can make sure you get the best price on the unlocks, because you’re going to need the credits.  Check out my suggested unlocks guide for an idea of what you might want.

Account Security Key

Attach a security key to your account.  You can use the free security keys for Apple and Android smartphones while you are subscribed(affiliate link).  You cannot apply security key apps to your account without a subscription, but they will work if you unsubscribe.  There is no longer a physical security key available.  The security keys will grant you 100 cartel coins per month.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but there won’t always be something you want on the Cartel Market.  Buy what you can from the GTN, and use your saved Cartel Coins for what you can’t.

What To Do With Leftover Credits

Anything over 350,000 credits is going to go into escrow.  You won’t get this money again unless you re-subscribe, or buy a temporary credit unlock from the Cartel Market/GTN.  Use your leftover credits to unlock your account-wide Legacy unlocks.  GTN on your ship, Droid Vendor, and Mailbox are good unlocks to have for a free account.  Whatever you think you might want, get it now.  If you have any leftover credits after that, make sure to spread them around to all your alts.  Each one can hold up to 350,000 credits.

Return To Preferred

If you’re coming back to the game like I was, you’re going to come back to a Preferred Status account. You won’t lose anything you’ve unlocked when you transition to Preferred.  You’re going to be a little behind everyone else, with a few more hurdles.  It’s nothing that running some daily quest hubs can’t fix though.  More on daily hubs below, as they will be important to you.  In the meantime, below are some things you need to do right when you return to the game. Step one is to find a referral link.  This will grant you a week of subscription time, several unlocks for each character, and a free character transfer.  You can use my link below if you don’t have a friend to refer you. Referral Link (Good through 09/27/2017)

Scout The GTN

Hit up the Cartel Market, and buy Account unlocks.  Watch the prices to make sure you get the best deal on an unlock.  You’re going to need the credits at first.  Check out my suggested unlocks guide for an idea of what you’ll want first.  My best advice is to be patient.  It’s worth the wait.

Account Security Key

Attach a security key to your account.  You can use the free security keys for Apple and Android smartphones while you are subscribed(affiliate link).  You cannot apply security key apps to free accounts. There are no longer physical security keys.  The security keys will grant you 100 cartel coins per month.   It doesn’t sound like a lot, but there won’t always be something you want on the Cartel Market.  Buy what you can from the GTN, and use your saved Cartel Coins for what you can’t.

What To Look Forward To

Preferred accounts have it much better than plain free accounts.  You can find a list of the restrictions here.  Some of them may look daunting, but don’t worry.  I have a guide to help you get around some of the restrictions on free accounts.

It’s not going to be a lot different than it was before.  You can buy just about everything you need to play ‘normally’ from the GTN.  If you’re leveling up characters and don’t have a level 50 or 65 to do daily hubs with, it may be a bit of a struggle.  I’ve put together a guide to help with that too.  It includes suggested professions, how to get customer service support, as well as leveling tips and strategies.  It also has some information already posted above, but it is worth reading again.

Daily Hubs Are Your Friend

Whether you are 50 or 65, daily quest hubs will be a fixture in your everyday SWTOR life.  At first you’ll need to run 2 or 3 a day.  It’s not as time consuming as it sounds, but it is a needed investment.  I try to run the fastest daily quest hub (CZ-198) at least once a day.  Here’s the good news: I don’t log in every day, and some days I just log in and skip it.  Once you are settled in with all the account unlocks, gear, etc that you need, the 350k credit cap is your friend.  I am amazed at how much hamster wheel spinning I did in games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, just trying to amass as much money as possible.  This has taken a lot of stress out of my game.  Check out my guide below for details and suggestions on which hubs are best.

SWTOR Is Worth Trying Again

It’s a free game, after all.  You only have to invest your time, and you can stop playing whenever you want.  The game’s F2P system has gotten a lot of bad press, but it’s not deserved.  Please understand the value of free.  It costs you only your time to try out, and let’s face it, you’ve wasted time on worse things.

What tips would you give to returning players in SWTOR?

43 Responses

  1. Fabian says:

    Sorry, these may be an old thread but I want to confirm them.
    1. If I buy the one time 2 months sub, can I still level up to the max cap (lvl 70) after the sub runs out?
    2. If I downloaded the expansions during my sub, can I still play them after it runs out or it will be unaccessable?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Traitine says:

      Yes for both! Once you buy it, it’s yours forever.

      • Fabian says:

        Thanks for the answer, but how about the new dlc knight of the eternal throne. In some threads I read that it wouldn’t be playable after the sub runs out

      • Traitine says:

        Once you buy it, it’s yours. The new DLC though doesn’t let you get new gear. You can still level up to max if you’re just in it for the story. Long term prospects are not good without subscribing.

      • Fabian says:

        Thanks man, at least I dont have to finish the story quickly before my sub ends. Thankyou very much

  2. Lucas says:

    Thanks for everythings!
    I did not even have to ask!


  3. Isey says:

    Old thread necro…

    Brand-new player with the 250%xp boost. Having fun. Ran out of quickbar space. Hate my helmet (but can’t hide it). Have gear that I can’t wear without the Hutt expansion.

    Trying to sort out if I should buy coins, or an expansion, or whatnot – but if I am reading this right – if I submit for just one month that solves my issues, even if I don’t continue the sub beyond that?

    I’m not going to gear up, drop a sub, and be unable to equip expansion only weapons?

    (Why do they make it so confusing…)

  4. Austin says:

    will I ever get any new gear if I’m on the rise of the hutt cartel and not subscribed

  5. Bakraus says:

    if my status change to pref. i can have only 350k credits, is there any way, or cartel pack or something, to hold more credits after i went to pref status? sory for my english

  6. Majki says:

    if my premium ends after new expansion come out will i be able to play new chapters that will come out in future?

  7. Arthal says:

    I have a subscription, but I also have several alts that are races that are not available on the free to play. I got a one time payment 60 day plan. will still be able to play these alts after my subscription expires

  8. Marek Fiala says:

    Let’s say I subscribe and start playing Knights of the Fallen Empire on one character. Then my subscription ends. Will I be able to start KotFE on other characters or even servers?

  9. Chuck says:

    Can you get an expansion by using a 60 day time card to subscribe? I heard they’re free to subscribers.

  10. Candice says:

    If I were to subscribe would I be able to still play Knights of the Fallen Empire? Would I have to start the storyline first while I’m subscribed, therefore I would keep it when I fall back to free?

  11. mathew says:

    do you keep all the expansion to ??

  12. Johnny says:

    Hi, so atm I’m a preferred player due to buying $5 worth of CC. I am wanting to sub for the 2 months non recurring, so I get RotHC, cos that’s a better deal than just buying the expansion, but I want to know, if all the unlocks I’ve bought will be lost when I return to preferred. I have extra inventory, artifact authorization, extra crew skills and the like, and I would like to know if I subscribe, and then return to preferred will I still have these benefits, or will I lose them? Because if I lose them, it doesn’t seem like spending the extra $10 is a good idea, but if I keep them, it does

  13. Gage says:

    Sp let me get this straight, I buy a sub plan, get everything I need, unlocks and what not. The artifact authorization is useable even after I stop the subscription correct? Like I’m not gunna be unable to equip my gear after sub ends? Because I’ve made it to level 40 as f2p and now i’m getting agitated with the whole game because the gear I need isn’t available to the 200k credit cap and I can’t progress as easy as everyone. I just want to know if that authorization stuff is still gunna be there when I need it even if im only a pref player

    • Traitine says:

      All unlocks are available after you unsub, yes. You can even unlock stuff while you are subbed, so it doesn’t clog your inventory. You will also get preferred access when you sub, making life much easier, as well as the last expansion.

      Just a suggestion, depending on how much you want to spend, but if you can hold off until July 10, and buy a 60 day card(or sub for 2 months), you will also get the subscriber bonuses for the next expansion as well. You can buy the cards at big retailers, or get a code to apply online from Amazon. Or you can just sub for 2 months as well, just don’t forget to cancel in month 2!

      There’s also a $40 for 4 months summer pass they have right now. Several options if you’re interested in the new expansion stuff. If not, a simple $15 one month sub will still do wonders. When you sub, feel free to come back and ask questions. I’m happy to help.

      • Gage says:

        So wait for the next big patch note and get both the ROTHC and new expansion for subscribing and keep all the perks as pref like gtn on the ship and articfact authorization. Sounds like a deal

      • Traitine says:

        July 15, 2014 by 11:59 pacific time is the cutoff to subscribe for early access benefits. The expansion is free, but it comes with some extra bonuses (titles, minipet, stronghold with rooms). The catch is you’ll want to sub for at least 2 months to get the benefits AND participate in early access.

        GTN on ship is a legacy unlock you have to buy. It costs over 350k so you’ll have to be subscribed to have access to enough credits. Artifact authorization is an account unlock you can buy with credits from the GTN or cartel coins. GTN price varies of course. You can get single character or account unlock. You can check out this guide for the unlocks you’ll want to look for:
        Bottom line is you keep all unlocks when you unsub.

        I would suggest you keep playing f2p until July 14. Sub, and then focus on getting at least one character to 50 asap. Once you hit 50, you have several daily quest hubs available to you, and it’s all downhill from there. You can farm all the credits you’ll need to buy unlocks. 2 months is plenty of time to farm what you need and still enjoy the game. When your sub ends, you’ll have the xpac, be upgraded to a preferred status account, and have cartel coins to spend.

        I’ve got a daily quest hub guide you can check out when you get to 50 too!

  14. Steve says:

    Thanks for this. This is exactly what I needed. I do have a question or two.

    First, the security key link you have doesn’t work. I have no experience with the security key, could you give info as to where I can get it and what it will cost? I had no idea there was a way to get monthly cm coins.

    Second, I run two sets of gear, PvP and PvE, and switch them out. I’m assuming that if I unequip them, they go dark and are unusable. With the artifact unlock, can I use all gear (I have black market at the moment, but I’m running dailies to try and get as many elite comms as I can) even though it says level 55 required?

    Third, do you stay at level 55, or does it drop you to level 50 (thus that being the way they lock out most stuff)?

    Fourth, what comms can you get with preferred dailies? I assume Ultimate is unavailable, but can you do runs for elites?

    • Traitine says:

      1) They just recently nixed the physical security key. Looks like the only way to get one now is through the app stores.
      2) Artifact unlock lets you use all gear, though if you have previously equipped a piece of gear, you can continue to use it. Also i’ve seen more than one person mention Rise of the Hutt Cartel unlocks 51-55 Artifact gear.
      3) You stay at 55.
      4) You get basic at least. I’m not sure if you can get elites or not. I’ll look when I get to my 55 and get back to you. Trying to get some GSF in for my daily on a lowbie right now.

    • Traitine says:

      Basic commendations for the daily, Elite commendations for the weekly.

  15. F2pcontent says:

    The smart people will use this guide. As a paid founder for 1 yr. that got burnt out and bored. I used to keep this stuff a secret for fear that the greed of EA would change f2p back and the good things of F2P would be gone. But it’s a been a while now and it’s out there. So don’t be a chump. lol If you talk down to F2P players that can do everything (or even the beginners) you’re a gullible subbing moron.

    Giving the newb’s (that are just trying it out) shit will only turn away new subbers and the game will not last. So don’t be a d bag. And giving the smart F2p pref players (that have it all unlocked) shit just means you’re a sucker still paying for what is free. Don’t be jealous. lol It’s great that some pay. Keeps the game alive. EA needs their $$. lol But until it’s worth paying for again after all I gave EA (and put up with) as a founder. F2P PREF FTW!

    • Jamesotrp says:

      If I go from subscriber to preferred will i lose access to the DLC and have to buy it? I’m just curious. I know this is an old thread but i found this while trying to figure it out sooo yeah

    • Xalek says:

      I know this is an old thread but I was wondering if i can still lvl beyond lvl 50 as a preferred player if i remove my subscription. What I mean is, if my char is above lvl 50 already but hasnt reached the lvl cap of 65 right now, would I still be able to lvl him up to 65? I wouldnt want to lose out on the rest of the abilities and utilities.

      • Traitine says:

        Yes. Once you subscribe, you can level to whatever the maximum level is. Currently that’s 65, so if you are subscribed now, and cancel your subscription, you can still level to 65.

    • Mad Yeargan says:

      Right you are. Thanks. Ignores human tendencies, it does though, to be trolls.

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